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$45 Million Hospital Bill: It's Enough To Really Make You Sick

With a bill that big, you'll need quite a stack of these.
Mark Wilson
Getty Images
With a bill that big, you'll need quite a stack of these.

Morning Edition's staff noticed a story from over the long holiday weekend that's just too much of a "no-way!" not to pass along.

Alexis Rodriguez, New York's Daily News reported, got a $44,776,587 bill for his recent three-week stay at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. (That's "unemployed doorman" Alexis Rodriguez, by the way, not New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — who could perhaps afford a $45 million bill. But, we digress.)

Now, everybody knows health care's expensive. But $45 million?

As you might expect, a mistake was made.

It seems that the billing company the hospital uses put an invoice number where the "amount due" should have been.

The story doesn't quite end there, however. The full cost of Rodriguez's treatment, according to the Daily News, was a still quite-high $40,000. Fortunately for him, though, insurance picked up most of the cost. The 28-year-old's out-of-pocket expense: $300.

The initial bill, though, was quite a shock. "I almost had an asthma attack," Rodriguez told the tabloid.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.